Interior Designer Degree Program
How to Select the Best One Near Goodyear Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Goodyear AZ, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. It's important that you get the appropriate training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a knack for designing commercial or residential interiors. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential you perform the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. But where do you begin? When looking for interior design programs, the majority of students start by zeroing in on the ones that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. But keep in mind, a school is not always the right option just because it has the lowest tuition or is located closest to your home. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.
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Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main difference between them is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Goodyear AZ can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Goodyear AZ interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training necessary to start your new profession in Goodyear AZ. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at many Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Classes
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Goodyear AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs
After you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school must be within commuting distance from your Goodyear AZ residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer program and school that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Goodyear AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Goodyear AZ school you select should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a large network of Goodyear AZ business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Goodyear AZ schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Goodyear AZ schools you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Goodyear home, go to the college and attend a few classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer school you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Goodyear AZ, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Learn More About Studying to Become an Interior Designer in Goodyear
Enroll in the Right Goodyear Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior design school is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are several points to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. It is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Goodyear Arizona.
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